Policy & Resources Cabinet Member – Minutes – 30 October 2013

On 19 February 2013 Council approved the revenue and capital budgets for the 2013/2014 financial year.  The report gave details of virements approved by the Director of Policy and Resources under delegated powers and those that required Cabinet Member approval.

Resolved – (a) That the virements at paragraph 3.1 of the report, approved by the Director of Policy and Resources under delegated powers be noted, and (b) that the permanent virements outlined in paragraph 3.2 of the report be approved.

89        (29) NATIONAL NON-DOMESTIC RATE RELIEF APPLICATIONS AND MONITORING – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report considering the level of National Non-Domestic Rate (NNDR) relief to be awarded to ratepayers in North Lincolnshire, and informing the Cabinet Member of the latest forecast of the level of Business Rates Collection and its impact on council finances.

From April 2013 the council could now retain a portion of the business rates it collected.  The amount retained was made up of the baseline funding allocated to the council each year and a portion of any gain or loss in collection.  If business rates increased the council would retain 37%.  A safety net mechanism ensured that the council would, at worst retain 92.5% of its baseline funding if business rates fell but would be responsible for 49% of any loss in collection below the government’s estimate until this safety net was reached.

The former Policy Committee agreed the legal position and administrative practices for dealing with rate relief on 22 January 1996.  The latest amendment to the criteria was at the Policy and Resources Cabinet Member briefing on 25 May 2012 (minute 2 refers).

Resolved – (a) That the level of rate relief to each applicant, as set out in the   attached schedule to the report, be awarded, and (b) that the latest position for 2013/14 on business rate collection and reliefs be noted.

90        (30) SMOKING POLICY – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report outlining and seeking approval for the council’s revised Smoking policy.

The Smoke Free Regulations 2006/7 required the council to ensure that its buildings and vehicles were smoke free. The regulations also provided guidance around appropriate signage that must be displayed by law.

In 2007 the council introduced a Smoking policy to provide detailed guidance in relation to the new smoke free regulations.

Recently electronic cigarettes (ecigarettes) had been introduced. Ecigarettes were battery powered products which released a visible vapour that contained liquid nicotine which was inhaled by the user. Ecigarettes fell outside the scope of the smoke free legislation but were very similar in appearance to regular cigarettes. There had recently been a number of queries regarding the council’s position on this matter.

The revised policy sought to make explicit that the use of ecigarettes on council premises was prohibited.  This was felt necessary because:

·         The council had been a smoke free environment since 2007 to support a healthy environment for customers, visitors, employees and councillors;

·         the potential impact on the image of the council and;

·         because of the similarity of appearance with regular cigarettes made enforcement of the policy more difficult.

Resolved – That the revised policy be approved and adopted.

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